The Legendary Big Ones
When people ask me where I’ve been diving, I always list them from smallest to grandest. I belt them out: murky lake, dirty shallow lake, Sewer Beach California, Tampon Beach North Carolina, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bahrain, Dubai, Australia, Iceland,… The big ones (the best ones) I save for last. The big ones are the special ones, the ones that mean something when I dive them, the dives that I look back on and grin every time I think about them. You know, the dives where you leave your camera charging extra long, and you triple check to make sure the lens cap is off. Whenever I dive a site on my list I call “The Big Ones,” I’m always tempted to leave a flag or memento at the site to show that I was there, but as an ocean conservationist, I never do. It’s better to do five mighty dives that you’ll remember to the end of your days, than a thousand mediocre dives, you can’t distinguish from one another.
Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog,” is based on the same principle. The basic premise of the book is that when it comes to task completion, it’s always better to get the biggest, most daunting tasks done first (going to the gym, working on your business, writing your book), the ones that will do the most for you in life, than it is to spend your time completing little tasks (watching tv, going paint balling with friends, getting on Facebook) that don’t amount to much. This is one of the secrets to living a productive life.
“The Big Ones” List
Stop what you’re doing right now. Get out a pen, and a clean sheet of paper, and in BIG letters across the top, write “THE BIG ONES.” Don’t go any further until you’ve done this. Now, write out a list of the biggest, meanest, scariest dives you’ve always wanted to do, hang it up on your wall, and start saving up for them now while you have the health, time, and money; knock them out. Do a trip every year. Of course, if you can get in dives throughout the year without compromising your big trip, by all means, go for it.
The V.I.P. Club Pass
Every now and again, a diver will tell me they don’t have enough experience to go on the dive they want to do. I’ve got two answers, but one solution. You can either go out, rack up a boat load of dives to build up your experience, spending quite a bit of time and money to do so (which is fine). OR, you can do what I did, and get a certification that will save you a lot of time, money, and heart ache. Get the Advanced Open Water certification. This one certification could have stopped the greatest disappointment of my diving career, if I had only known such a thing existed when I was seventeen. It’s pricey, about $300 to $400, but it’s well worth what you’ll learn, and beats racking up dives in your local pond. Not only that, but it’s basically a golden ticket to dive anywhere. It’s like a V.I.P. club pass, just show them your card, and you’re in.
PADI Guide: I’m sorry, you just don’t have the experience to go diving with great white sharks.
You: (hand Advanced Open Water card to guide, and don’t say a word)
PADI Guide: You obviously know what you’re doing. Welcome aboard Sir.
You: Thanks, now grab my gear from the van, I’m going diving.
So now you know. Save up that extra bit of cash, no more last minute dive trips, and take a big dive at the end of the year, you’ll thank me for it.